Platoon Critique Essay, Research Paper
Platoon was filmed in 1986, and directed by Oliver Stone. The production studio that produced the film was Orion Pictures. The lead characters include Sergeant Barns, played by Tom Berenger, Sergeant Elias, played by Willem Dafoe, and Chris, played by Charlie Sheen. Chris is the ignorant college boy who comes to Vietnam on his will because he feels lost back home. The character is based off the director Oliver Stone, who dropped out of Yale to join the war effort. Although he is glad to get away from all of the people back home, he is unaware of what he is getting into. Chris and the rest of the replacement soldiers are given little time to prepare for their first battle, which they are thrown into. Sergeant Elias objects to this idea but he has little influence, and they are sent in anyway. Many of the new soldiers are slaughtered early on in the movie. At first the veterans who have been around do not accept Chris, but eventually he becomes friends with the pothead/hippie group. While out on patrol, the platoon comes upon a village where Chris has to make some important choices. Many of the other soldiers are mindlessly beating, raping, and killing anyone they decide to. This is when Chris begins his distrust of Sergeant Barns, and sides with Sergeant Elias. Towards the end of the movie Sergeant Elias is murdered by Sergeant Barns. At first Chris is unaware that Barns killed him, but he eventually figures it out. In the last battle of the film the platoon gets slaughtered by the superior Vietnamese numbers. The commanding officer decides that defeat is eminent so he orders the napalming of the whole area. The next morning Chris awakes and struggles to his feet. While walking he comes across Sergeant Barns who orders him to get a medic for him. Chris shoots him in the chest and walks on. The film ends with a scene of Chris being airlifted out in the wounded helicopter.
The film was nominated for many academy awards including, best picture, best film editing, best sound, best director, best cinematography, best writing, and best supporting actor. The film won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best film editing, best sound, and best director. Oliver Stone won the Best director Oscar, Claire Simpson won best editing, Simon Kaye, Richard Rogers, John Wilkenson, and Bud Grenzbach won best sound, and Arnold Kopleson won best Picture.
The film was very good in portraying the Vietnam War. The setting of the movie was in a very thick jungle with tall grass and a beautiful landscape. The film showed how this setting effected the characters. They were forced to walk through thick jungle with biting insects, and hidden trip wires that were virtually invisible. The characters obviously looked like they had gone without sleep. The film showed how the war effected each man differently, and how each of them dealt with the pain that they had. The film also did a great job in their battle scenes. The camera was always moving to give a sense of confusion and disorientation. The film also had great shot of wounded men screaming. The film made you feel like you were in the middle of it all. The violence and paranoia that plagued the soldiers was also evident in the movie. The village scene showed how many soldiers actually treated the native Vietnamese people, because they couldn’t tell who would be fighting them the next night. The film also showed how many of the soldiers were used as bait to lure the Vietnamese out so they could be bombed with napalm. During the last battle of the movie the commanding officer decided that they were obviously loosing so he called in the planes to bomb everything. The film shows the Vietnam experience from the average soldier’s point of view. In the beginning he is very ignorant and his chances of survival are slim. Chris’ friend who flew in with him was killed during their first mission. This film was very historically accurate and is critically acclaimed as the best Vietnam War movie. It did an excellent job in showing what it was like to be in the War. It showed how the War effected the soldiers, and how none of them felt that they were fighting for a reason.
I liked the realism of this film. They director and actors did a great job in making the film seem real. The story of the film was also excellent. The film had an interesting film as well as great special effects. The feeling that the movie portrays through the violence, and battle scenes, also made the movie exciting to watch. I think that the director choose good actors for their roles in the movie. Charlie Sheen did a great job in the role of a middle class college drop out. Tom Berenger also was a great choice for the veteran Sergeant who has nothing to loose. The movie went beyond just showing battles, with the showing of the moral dilemmas that the soldiers faced. The movie does not glorify war, but shows it to be real and damaging. Platoon was in my opinion the best film that we have watched all semester. It has all the makings of a great movie, like a terrific plot and story line, good actors, and great effects.
There was not much about this movie that I did not enjoy. I think it would have been a lot better to see it in a movie theatre with better sound, but that’s not going to happen. The only other thing that I didn’t like about the film was there needed to be a little bit more battle footage or fighting.
This film was extremely historically accurate. Everything from the costuming, to the props was accurate. The only inaccuracies include Bunny listening to “Okie from Muskogee” which was not released until later and Huey helicopters that are fitted with wire cutters, which were not installed until the early 1980s.